Kenyan Coastline Marine Park Tourism
Kenyan costal line is a beehive of Marine adventure activities. Our trips for this type of tourism adventure takes clients to three major Marine parks along the Kenyan coast. These are:
Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park
Highlights: Known as “Home of the dolphins and Coconut crab”. Kisite Marine park was established to protect the scenic islands and special habitats of a wide range of endemic marine animals and breeding migratory birds.It lies in the coral gardens beginning about 1km south of Wasini island and encompasses four small, arid coral islands, each with considerate areas of fringing reef.Kisite Island features an exposed sand bar and the surrounding pellucid waters offer the most rewarding of the snorkering sites. The park is open all year round. Snorkelling is good throughout the year.
Essentially unspoiled (there are no roads or cars) and entirely different in terms of culture and landscape from the mainland,this peaceful island invites exploration.It features a picturesquely sculptured rocky coastline,low rag coral forest cover,numerous venerable baobab trees and two small villages.Once below the waves,but now merely washed into the incoming tide,these rather surreal grey-white coral gardens lie directly behind Wasini village.Run by the friendly ‘Wasini Women’s Co-oprative Boardwalk’(offering guided walks,cool drinks and a handicraft shop),the two and a half acres of petrified coral gardens and mangreove swamps can be explored by means of a meandering timbered broadwalk leading in a circuit around the site.
The Kenyan Barrier Reef
The most outstanding feature on the Kenyan coast, the prisine and well developed coral barrier reef extends all the way from Shimoni in the South of Malindi in the North, without significant break, except at the mouth of rivers.The coral reefs referred to as the rainforests of the sea, are one of the most fascinating ecosystems on earth, sheltering nearly one million types of marine life.
Enchanted underwater kingdom
An enchanted realm of living coral gardens,sculpted islands,wheeling seabirds and sparklingly clear seas,this world famous Marine Park promises an underwater world of unbelievable color,discovery and vibrancy.The reef provides food and shelter for the entire community.A shifting rainbow of small fish,octopus and clams hide in the gaps between the rainbow coral;celestal-blue parrotfish use their hard beaks to chew off lumps of coral while a kaleidoscope of soup plate sized snappers,rubber fish,Zebra fish,butterfly fish,angel fish and scorpion fish shimmer in the clear waters.Hunting sharks,rays,turtles and starfish also prowl the reef in search of prey while moral eels hide in holes alongside small crabs and Wrasses(long,spiny-finned fish).Sea cucumbers,brittle stars and numerous species of mollusk also feed on the plentiful algae of these warm coastal waters.The reef features 12 species of sea grass and numerous sponges.
The park is famous for its population of turtles: green, Hawksbill ,Loggerhead, Ridley and Leatherback.
Dolphin and Whale spotting
The Reef offers sanctuary to over 200 dolphins (spinner,humpback and bottle-nosed),which can be encountered singly or in schools,above or below the waves.You may even be fortunate enough to see a humpback whale(October-December).Whale sharks meanwhile are often seen around the Mpunguti Islands.
Kisite Island, Realm of the Seabirds
Kisite Island is flat, treeless and often only visible as a sandbar.At its tip is a rocky outcrop, which makes ideal seabird habitat supporting an abundance of pelagic-feeding birds including a breeding colony of roseate terns and nesting sooty terns.
Divers and Snorkellers Paradise
Due to its warm shallow waters, exceptionally clarity, pristine coral and extraordinary breadth of marine life, the Park and the Reserve offer an excellent dive venue for beginners and professionals alike.The warm clear waters, spectacular soft corals and Kaleiodoscopic marine life make this park one of the finest snorkeling venues in Kenya, the most popular areas lying in the main coral garden toward the outer edge of the Kisite anchorage area.
Visitor tip:The best time to snorkel is two hours either side of low tide,when the greatest amount of marine life is revealed.Also please avoid standing on or otherwise damaging the coral.
The Shimoni caves
Only five minutes from Shimoni Pier,and well worthy a visit,are the ancient coral caves of Shimoni.Vast,carvenous bat filled,they are reputed to extend 5 km inland and served for centuries as ‘Kayas’ or sacred sites of worship and sanctuary for the local community.Later,in the 18th and 19th century,the caves are also believed to have served as the holding areas for the thousands of slaves captured in the African interior,who were in transit to the infamous Arabian slave markets of Zanzibar.The caves,which are run as a community project,are open from 8.30am to 6pm(a small entrance fee is payable.)
There is no accommodation within the park or,but there are various accommodation options in nearby Shimoni including a selection of 7 economically priced KWS self-catering ‘Bandas’ or chalets (offered inclusive beddin,towels,cooking equipments,bathrooms,showers and communal eating area).
Mombasa Marine Park.
Highlights: The Mombassa Marine National Park is an unforgettable paradise of beautiful sun, sandy beach, and safe ocean adventure. The park was established just over 20years ago to protect the coral reef and the resident marine life spread out over a breadth taking 210km.sq.
Besides taking in the beautiful coral gardens, you can sunbathe on the pristine beaches,or enjoy relaxing water sports,like scuba diving and snorkeling.As a point of interest,the greatest amount of marine life comes out two hours either side of low tide.That is the best recommende time to go snorkeling over the reef.
Kenya’s coastal waters are warm all year round so,even without a wet suit,diving is quiet rewarding.
There are lots of luxurious, comfortable and culturally rich hotels and lodges to choose from in close proximity to the Mombassa Marine National Park.
The wonderful news is you don’t have to wait for a specific time of year to visit the Mombassa Marine Park.The park is open all year round.And with the beautiful Kenyan coastal weather,snorkeling is good all through the year.
What to take with you
- footwear, e.g sandals or flipflops (to protect your feet from reef).
- T-shirts(to protect your body from sunburn).
- snorkel,mask,fins,all of which are available for hire
- camera,hat,sunscreens,insect repellant
- guide books
- plenty of drinking water
- A friend(s)
Malindi Marine Park
Highlights: Africa’s oldest Marine Park, Magic Islands, Zebra Fish.Malindi Marine Park and Reserve was the first marine protected area in Kenya, established in 1968 and designated as a Biosphere Reserve programme of UNESCO in 1979.The park is located south of Malindi town extending to Mida creek, neighbouring Gede ruins and Arabuko Sokoke forest and is enveloped by a national reserve and a 100 ft strip of coastal land starting from Vasco-da-Gama pillar to Watamu.
Malindi Marine park is well endowed with a variety of unique resources such as fringing reefs,coral gardens in the lagoons,sea grass beds,mangroves,mudflats and a high diversity of fish and marine mammals(e.g dolphins),turtles and shorebirds.Among the species of fish found in the Malindi Marine Park include coral reef fish, sweet lips, surgeonfish, butterfly fish, damsels and parrotfish.On the leeward side of north reef which has a low coral cover with large schools of Barracuda and the occasional reef shark commonly encountered as well as large rays that feed on the bottom.Whether snorkeling or scuba diving you are sure to marvel at the under water beauty and may just bump into other regular visitors to the Malindi Marine Park who include sea turtles feeding on the thallasia beds and dolphins feeding on shimmering schools of sardine.
- Swimming in the warm ocean water,snorkeling,boat rides,diving,dhow rides,sun bathing,,educational tour,picnic and barbeque on island,wind surfing(in the reserve),beach clean up,research and much more.
- Conferencing: A resource centre with a conference hall for a capacity of 50people with audio-visual equipment,a library and laboratory is available for hire.
- An education center with audio-visual equipment and colourful and informative posters displayed for visitor’s free access.
Glass Bottom Boats:
Whether you prefer swimming or snorkeling or just viewing the biodiversity of the coral reef from a boat, the marine operator offers the following services:
- Boat excursion rides throughout the Marine Park and Reserve.
- Visits to the coral gardens to see the tropical fish in their natural environment
- Trips to Manyungu,a tidal sand island,where you can have fresh sea food.
- General information
- There is no charge to use the beach for swimming,sunbathing or exploring the many tidal pools.
- A park fee is charged for visitors using boats to go snorkeling,scuba diving,or observing the coral reef.
- Glass bottom boats are available for hire to visit the reefs.
- Please use only the services of the local community of boat operators who are authorized by the warden
Kiunga Marine National Reserve
An enchanted underwater world
A pristine string of rugged coral isles, ringed by rainbow coral reefs and part of the enchantered Swahili realm of the Lamu archipelago, this Reserve offers living coral gardens, sculpted coves, wheeling seabirds, rare turtles, magical dugongs and an underwater world of unbelievable colour,discovery and vibrancy.
The Lamu Archipelago
The Reserve is part of the Lamu Archipelago, a cluster of low lying desert islands that run for some 60km parallel to the coastline of northern Kenya. The last survivor of one thousand year old civilization, Lamu was founded by the Arabs in the 17th century and traded for centuries thereafter in ivory, rhino horn and slaves. Today it offers a unique showcase for traditional Swahili culture, a bustling historic town and some of the pristine beaches in Africa.
Islands in the stream
The Reserve is made up of a chain of 51 coral islands lying some 2km offshore, but inshore of the fringing reef. They run adjacent to the mainland’s Dodori and Boni National Reserves. Varying in size, the islands are composed of old,eroded coral and shelter lesser kudu,bushbuck,monkey,porcupine and wild pig.
Reefs, the rainforests of the sea
Coral reefs are one of the most fascinating ecosystems on earth, sheltering nearly one million different types of marine life. Forming only in warm seas, they are made by battalions of tiny polyps,miniscule sea anemone-like creatures that live together in colonies;some create a hard skeleton outside their bodies and it is this which eventually forms into stony coral.Coral comes in many shapes,size and colours including the open branched stag’s horn coral,the pincushion-like acropora coral,thw eavy-branched and plate-like pavona coral,the massively solid favia coral and the convoluted brain coral.
The reef provides food and shelter for an entire community.A shifting rainbow of small fish,worms,shrimps,octopus and clams hide in the gaps while blue and yellow parrot fish use their hard beaks to chew off lumps of coral.Snappers,rubberfish,zebrafish,butterfly and scorpion fish shimmer in the clear waters while hunting sharks,rays,turtle and starfish prowl the reef in search of prey.Fierce moray eels hide in holes,while small crabs,wrasses(long,spiny-finned fish) and sharks lurk in the caves;Sea urchins,sea cucumbers,brittle stars and numerous species of mollusk feed on algae and transparent prawns dance wraithlike through the waters alongside shifting clouds of tiny demoiselle fish.
Hunt of mermaids?
The Reserve’s creeks and inlets also serve as a substantial breeding ground for the rare mermaid-like creature called the dugong.A completely aquatic,warm-blooded mammal,the dugong belongs to the mammal order sirenia,a name derived from the ancient legends of Odsseus and the sirens.Though to share a common ancenstry with the elephant,dugong have an average length of 2.5-3.2 meters,may weigh anything from 140-170kg,and live on the marine grasses growing in the shallower waters of the Reserve.
Realm of the seabirds
The outer islands of the Reserve host many seabirds.Species nesting here include roseate tern,sooty gull,white-cheeked tern,brindled tern and brown node.Crab plovers are also beautiful while other migrant waders frequent the more sheltered flats and creeks.
Snorkering,diving and swimming
The best time for snorkeling is two hours either side of low tide,which is the time when the greatest amount of marine life is revealed.Kenya’s coastal waters are warm all year round,so diving without a wet suit is rewarding.
Kiwayu Island is the only inhabited island to be included in the Kiunga Marine National Reserve.
Lodges and tented camps
There are two luxury lodges on Kiwayu; Munira island Camp and Kiwayu Safari Village.